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FLEXO Magazine : April 2011
Technologies & Techniques Take a walk through any grocery store today and you will be amazed at how sophisticated packaging print and graphics have become. Such packaging is often challenging to create, and print- ers are turning to advanced inspection systems to help manage quality while im- proving press productivity. (See Photo 2.) Customer demands are also driving improved print inspection. Customers demand flawless packaging today because they know it is possible. For many Fortune 500 companies, 100-per- cent inspection is a requirement. To meet customer demands, converters must maintain minimal start-up times and waste along with optimized quality. These inspection systems help convert- ers do precisely that, with substantial payback and return on investment. ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY Print inspection technology is rapidly changing. Converters must keep up with its evolution if they are to serve their customers and remain competitive. Improvements in area scan cameras, line scan cameras, mathematics and software and integrated workflow solu- tions abound. Area Scan Camera Technology Leading print process systems in use today employ 4.2 mega pixel, three-chip digital cameras. These cameras offer resolution three times greater than that of other systems, and they have been shown to be especially effective for the following: • Faster, more frequent defect detec- tion on larger areas of the web, which results in shorter defect life and reduced waste. • Identification of troublesome de- fects, such as streaks and plate lift, and haze in gravure printing. • Inspection of fill-in and missing print on small type. • Inspection of vignette screen quality. • Verification of 2D barcodes. Imagine the amount of speed required to process and inspect a 4.2 mega pixel image of a 13-inch by 9-inch area every second—and find every defect. This has only been made possible by improvements in the amount and speed of processing power, in combination with the use of digital transmission schemes. Back in the 1950s, an analog data transmission standard was estab- lished for the amount of data that could be transmitted across the platform. Although some inspection systems still use analog data transmission, digital data transmission schemes are the new standard. They are not limited in the amount of data they can process, nor are they affected by cable lengths. Digi- tal inspection systems are not compro- mised by motors and other electronic noise in the plant, resulting in far more effective and reliable defect detection. Thin-film transistor flat-screen tech- nology has become affordable, mak- ing HD displays of 40 inches or larger mainstream. This technology allows operators to view full-sized printed im- ages with amazing clarity, detail and color fidelity. Make every second count. You need to see this incredibly rapid changeover to believe it. It’s the ultimate in workflow acceleration, driving higher margins and slashing waste. Short run flexo now makes sense. It’s efficient. It’s profitable. Go to markandy.com/secondscount w w w.markandy.com www.flexography.org april 2011 FLeXO 19